Identification of safety, environmental, and operations/maintenance impacts associated with locating wind and solar installations within highway ROW

Focus Area



Air Quality, Environmental Process






1-2 years

Research Idea Scope

The proposed research will identify potential highway
safety, environmental and operation and maintenance (O&M) impacts of
emerging solar and wind energy production and storage installations along
highway Right-of-Way (ROW), with specific focus being given to any differences
that may be presented by US region. The research would identify and evaluate
the current ROW physical characteristics and operational conditions relative to
solar and wind design criteria variables, in addition to evaluating the overall
environmental and transportation safety implications.

Urgency and Payoff

State DOTs are beginning to explore the use of highway
ROW for accommodating renewable energy technology.  The Volpe Center prepared for FHWA a recent
report to facilitate deployment, (see

Safety, environmental, and operational impacts have been
perceived and/or cited initially as potentially insurmountable challenges to
implementing highway renewable energy projects. There is an immediate need to
analyze, prevent or mitigate the impact of deployed highway renewable energy
applications on drivers’ safety and performance; to analyze and reduce the
impact of highway renewable energy applications on road maintenance; to Identify
the critical risk factors in highway renewable energy deployment and to develop
risk reduction strategies; and to make design and safety recommendations
related to these types of projects. Case studies will be cited to illustrate
potential hazards, and identify best practices in risk reduction and

Suggested By

Carson Poe, Gina Filosa, and Aviva Brecher, USDOT Volpe Center 617-494-2765

[email protected]